The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
Wonderful post, Kevin.
FYI, Henry George was one of the great American economists. One of the central themes of his work was to invalidate every form of taxation but one: taxation on the ownership of land. Over time he went a little bizarro in that direction, eventually yielding to the notion that land could not and must not be privately owned, but that's a very long story.
George's economic principles and their free-market implications were at the root of the thinking of two other great thinkers and champions of liberty: Frank Chodorov and Herbert Spencer. In many ways he was a forerunner to the Austrian Neo-Classical school of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek.
Though they read in a somewhat dated fashion today, George's writings, including Progress And Poverty, are kept in print by the Ralph Schalkenberg Foundation, which distributes them at a reasonable cost. This same foundation also prints and sells Herbert Spencer's seminal work Social Statics,
regarded by many as the foundation stone in the development of British classical liberalism and American libertarianism.
It appears you've inspired me. See this.
Damn, Francis! That's high praise. Thank you.
You have an excellent article, but there is a glaring omission which I never see reported. That is the costs born by families or friends to "beat the drug charge". Let me give you an example of an actual case which happens hundred of times every day.
My son at age 18 visited some friends at a college in South Georgia. While there they went out one night and harvested some "shrooms", psychedelic mushrooms. They had 12 in a bag and returned to the dorm and put them in the refrigerator.
A snitch told the campus police who immediately confronted the students in the dorm and confiscated the shrooms. No search warrant here! They arrested and charged my son and his friend with a serious violation of Georgia Law, "FELONY possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute".
As a parent what do you do? You say get a good lawyer, because you want to get the Felony erased if possible.
"Good lawyers abound, for a minimum $3000 for a FELONY, they take the case. You never hear about it again.
The campus police get an "attaboy"; the DEA, GBI, DARE and Local Sheriff all get body bag notches: the bondsman gets his bail money, "We have lots of parents who come down from Atlanta to bail the kids out" the bail bondsman says; the lawyer gets the $3000, and probably takes the prosecutor/judge to dinner at a later date for losing the charge.
This is how it really works. Those people depend on the War on Drugs. Not to solve problems, but to coerce money from the helpless! It happened twice to our family.
But you left the drug that is most commonly used, easiest to get addicted to, with among the worst withdrawl symptoms, out of your post: caffeine. It's in coffee, tea, and most sodas (where it is ADDED for it's addictive properties; addicted customers tend to be repeat customers).
While I do like wine (though seldom to excess), I, like you, have never used an illegal drug. But I do find it odd that marijuana, which has never, not once, ever, resulted in a death due to overdose or toxic response is illegal (they've tried to kill lab rats with marijuana, and they CAN'T DO IT). But you can walk in to a grocery store, buy a box of no-doze, and overdose on it (which will kill you, very painfully, and rather fast).
The "war on (some) drugs". What an asinine policy.